Title: Say It With Ink (The Seattle Chronicles)
Author: C.C. Dado
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
Release Date: December 2nd 2015
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 61 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 0 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Levi can remember the exact moment the projection of his life changed entirely, from homeless dropout to college graduate. It was the day he found Jamie Donovan standing on his front porch—the boy Levi had secretly drooled over from afar would become the best friend he secretly drooled over up close.
When Levi gets a full ride scholarship but Jamie doesn’t, Jamie becomes an exotic dancer to help pay his tuition. Watching Jamie perform is pure torture for Levi, and hiding how he really feels starts to take its toll. And when the hot new guy from his Econ class hits on him, Levi has to decide just how long he’s going to stay devoted to his straight best friend.
Levi has managed to create a full sleeve of gorgeous tattoos dedicated to moments or memories of the life he’s spent the last few years with his straight best friend.
Levi’s neighbor Harley was the best tattoo artist in town. He had been trading Levi tattoo work for fixing up his truck since Levi was sixteen.
“So what’s this one?” Jamie asked.
Levi pulled up his sleeve, revealing his bicep wrapped in clear cellophane, showing a black-inked waterfall with the subtlest of blue and white highlights mixed in. On the edges of the fall was a poem in an ornate script-looking font. The new tattoo blended in with Levi’s existing work and completed his sleeve from shoulder to wrist.
“Jesus. It’s awesome. It reminds me of the falls my parents took us to see up at Mount Baker. Is that Poe?” Jamie thought Levi’s taste in literature was a bit twisted, but they’d both liked Edgar Allen Poe ever since their history teacher had made them write a joint report on him.
“Yeah, it’s Poe.” Levi didn’t comment on it being the exact waterfall Jamie’s parents had taken them to see.
His straight best friend that he’s hopelessly in love with. Of course, Jamie is completely unaware of his best friend’s secret love. When they are able to go away to college together and share a dorm room, things finally come to a head for Levi. He just can’t keep living the way he has, pining for something that will never be…it won’t, right? But Jamie has some decisions of his own to make, whether he’s willing to take a chance, or lose Levi.
I absolutely loved the humor and emotion in this. The UST is nicely done, and C.C. even managed to wring a tear out of me at the pinnacle confessional moment. I liked that it doesn’t devolve into a love or lose me forever kind of thing, and that the characters eventually talk everything out and even seek the help they need to deal with their situation.
As with most novellas a lot is packed into a few pages, but the characters felt fleshed out and the introduction of new friend Sy, as the sounding board for Levi, who is a real crackerjack, rounds this cast out nicely.
“No one knows,” Levi confirmed.
“Oh God,” Sy exclaimed, dropping his fork on the table and leaning in to whisper. “Are you from one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone’s business, so you have to sneak into the next town to meet somebody under the cover of darkness just to get laid?”
“No,” Levi said, looking at Sy like he was insane. “I’m from Fremont. It’s not a small town, and no, I never snuck around to hook up with people. I fell for Jamie when I was fifteen. I couldn’t fucking do that,” he said, staring down at his fries.
Silence sat at their table while Sy took in what Levi had said.
“Sweet baby Jesus,” Sy said in awe. “Are you a virgin?” he asked in an almost yell. He recovered quickly seeing Levi’s glare, and the way he crumpled his napkin in his fist. Sy quickly returned to an almost whisper. “Have you been saving yourself for Jamie all this time?”
Levi just stared at Sy for moment before acknowledging the question with a nod.
“My testicles are literally crying for you right now,” he said, throwing himself back in his chair. “What a waste. I realize Jamie is fine and all, but you could have anyone you wanted if you walked into a bar right now. A big tattooed guy like you with that fucking pretty face. Such a waste. Have you even kissed a guy before?” Sy sounded angry.
My only complaint is, which is with most novellas it seems nowadays, that the ending felt rushed. I want to see what happens next with these two, and will look forward to more in the series. Also, though not a complaint because it totally works for the story, note there are no sexy times in this. None. I’m hoping that the next in the series will bring the bow-chicka-wow-wow times I crave.